Dec. 10: Second Sunday of Advent
Since everything is to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness? (2 Pet 3:11)
In Muriel Spark’s 1959 novel Memento Mori, the plot revolves around an anonymous telephone caller who informs each of the elderly characters, “Remember, you must die.” The responses to this provocative announcement range from anticipation to acceptance to utter denial.
Many of us, whether healthy or ill, young or old, try to avoid thinking about our own deaths. We are abetted in this by advances in wellness practices and medical technology that promise to keep death at bay almost indefinitely. As long as we swallow the right supplements, undertake the newest exercise program, submit to the latest medical procedure, the end can be postponed.
Rather than putting our faith in these tools and procedures, none of which will ultimately prevent death, we might instead ponder Peter’s question in today’s second reading. Given that both the great wide world and our individual human lives will one day be “dissolved,” what sort of persons ought we to be? How do we want our story to end? What is important to us? What do we seek?
Whom do we love? Human time is finite; the minutes and hours will one day dissolve into the divine and eternal reality of God. Perhaps the best way for us to prepare for that life is to strive to be people of faith, focusing on what matters in this one, namely, our relationship with God and our relationships with others. Whether we acknowledge it or not, the road will one day end. Let us strive to make the journey rich, purposeful, and holy.
Lord of life and death, Make me ever mindful of my life’s horizon, and keep me on course in faith and love as I travel towards it. Amen.
For today’s readings, click here.